Warren Buffett in The New York Times on taxing the ultra-rich Warren Buffett has been trading for a while. He's experienced enough to remember a time when marginal tax rates on dividends could climb as high as 91 percent. Never did he find that high tax burdens on the super-wealthy discouraged him and his fellow investors from trading. And, as he recalls, those high rates corresponded with middle class prosperity as well as big returns for the 1 percent. "So let’s forget about the rich and ultrarich going on strike and stuffing their ample funds under their mattresses if—gasp—capital gains rates and ordinary income rates are increased," Buffett argues. "The ultrarich, including me, will forever pursue investment opportunities."
William D. Cohan in Bloomberg View on Jon Corzine No one's defending Jon Corzine, the former New Jersey senator and governor who drove MF Global Holdings Ltd. into the ground, according to a new report presented by the firm's staff before the House Financial Services Committee. But no one's really penalizing his reckless management of the Wall Street company either, argues William D. Cohan. "I’m no prosecutor, but this reluctance to hold Corzine criminally responsible for what happened at MF Global seems like a crime in itself," Cohan writes.
Dennis Ross in The New Republic on America's approach to the Middle East With the ceasefire keeping things calm in Gaza for the moment, now would be a good time for the U.S. to rethink its approach in the Middle East, argues Dennis Ross. In his assessment, all three sides of the conflict—Israel, Hamas, and Egypt—made gains from the fighting. "Washington needs to build on this," he writes. "In addition to cooperating with Egypt on Israel, the U.S. also needs to work together with Israel in determining whether the future address and identity of the Palestinians will be Islamist or nationalist."
John Vidal in The Guardian on the Doha climate talks Many analysts believe we may be approaching the point of no return on climate change, after which even our best efforts to curb carbon emissions won't stave off the worst effects. So the time to get serious is now, John Vidal argues, looking ahead to the U.N.'s climate talks in Doha. The U.S. especially needs to be prepared to make concessions, Vidal writes: "The blame for this miserable state of diplomatic affairs must be laid squarely on the US in particular and the rich countries in general ... The science and evidence of climate change is clearer than ever, the poor countries on the frontline of the immense changes taking place have done everything that was asked of them by the rich to cut their emissions. In short, there is little time left and no more excuses."
E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post on the Catholic Church Catholic bishops were about as shocked at Mitt Romney's loss as Mitt Romney was, according to E.J. Dionne's sources. The Washington Post columnist argues that if the Catholic Church's leadership wants to connect with its parishioners (a narrow majority of whom voted for Obama), they have to focus not on politically divisive rhetoric, but instead on the generosity they've shown in Sandy relief efforts. The election may have caused "disarray in the Bishops’ Conference," Dionne writes. But, "this is actually good news. One person’s disarray is another’s openness. There is now new space for debate and a rethinking of the church’s tilt rightward over the past several years."